Dictator

Dictator

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For the ancient Roman title, see Roman dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

.

A dictator is a ruler (e.g. absolutist
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

 or autocratic
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

) who assumes sole and absolute power (sometimes, but not always, with military control or bribes) but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

. The word originated as the title of a magistrate
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 in ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 appointed by the Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 to rule the republic in times of emergency (see Roman dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 and justitium
Justitium
Justitium is a concept of Roman law, equivalent to the declaration of the state of emergency. It was usually declared following a sovereign's death, during the troubled period of interregnum, but also in case of invasions...

).

Like the term "tyrant
Tyrant
A tyrant was originally one who illegally seized and controlled a governmental power in a polis. Tyrants were a group of individuals who took over many Greek poleis during the uprising of the middle classes in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, ousting the aristocratic governments.Plato and...

" (which was originally a respectable Ancient Greek title), and to a lesser degree "autocrat", "dictator" came to be used almost exclusively as a non-titular term for oppressive, even abusive rule, yet had rare modern titular uses.

In modern usage, the term "dictator" is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power
Superiority complex
Superiority complex refers to an exaggerated feeling of being superior to others. The term was coined by Alfred Adler , as part of his School of Individual psychology...

, especially the power to make law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

s without effective restraint by a legislative assembly
Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature, or to one of its branch.The name is used by a number of member-states of the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as a number of Latin American countries....

. Dictatorships are often characterized by some of the following traits: suspension of election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

s and of civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

; proclamation of a state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

; rule by decree
Rule by decree
Rule by decree is a style of governance allowing quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group, and is used primarily by dictators and absolute monarchs, although philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben have argued that it has been generalized since World War I in all modern states,...

; repression of political opponents
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

 without abiding by rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

 procedures; these include single-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

, and cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

.

The term "dictator" is comparable to, but not synonymous with, the ancient concept of a tyrant; initially "tyrant", like "dictator", did not carry negative connotations. A wide variety of leaders coming to power in a number of different kinds of regimes, such as military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

s, single-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

s and civilian governments under personal rule, have been described as dictators. They may hold left or right-wing views, or can even be apolitical
Apolitical
The state or quality of being apolitical can be the apathy and/or the antipathy towards all political affiliations. Being apolitical can also refer to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to political matters.-References:...

. Some examples of leaders widely viewed as dictators include Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i is the Supreme Leader of Iran and the figurative head of the Muslim conservative establishment in Iran and Twelver Shi'a marja...

, Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line...

, Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

, Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, Nicolae Ceaușescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

, Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

, Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

, Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

, Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

, Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

, Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

, Pol Pot
Pol Pot
Saloth Sar , better known as Pol Pot, , was a Cambodian Maoist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1976 to 1979, he served as the Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea....

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, António de Oliveira Salazar
António de Oliveira Salazar
António de Oliveira Salazar, GColIH, GCTE, GCSE served as the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. He also served as acting President of the Republic briefly in 1951. He founded and led the Estado Novo , the authoritarian, right-wing government that presided over and controlled Portugal...

, Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is a politician who was formerly the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991...

, Omar Al-Bashir
Omar al-Bashir
Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is the current President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister...

, Meles Zenawi
Meles Zenawi
Meles Zenawi Asres is the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Since 1985, he has been chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front , and is currently head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front .Meles was born in Adwa, Tigray in Northern Ethiopia, to an Ethiopian father from...

, Suharto, Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

.

Roman origin



In the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 the term "Dictator" did not have the negative meaning it has later assumed. Rather, a Dictator was a person given sole power (unlike the normal Roman republican practice, where rule was divided between two equal Consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

s) for a specific limited period, in order to deal with an emergency. At the end of his term, the Dictator was supposed to hand power over to the normal Consular rule and give account of his actions - and Roman Dictators usually did.

The term started to get its modern negative meaning with Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 making himself a Dictator without a set limit to his term, and keeping the title until his assassination.

Garibaldi as a positive dictator


Still, even in the 19th Century, the term "Dictator" did not always have negative connotations. For example, the Italian revolutionary Garibaldi, during his famous Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand
The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

 in 1860, proclaimed himself "Dictator of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

", which did not prevent him from being extremely popular in Italian and international public opinion. His usage of the term was clearly derived from the original Roman sense - i.e., a person taking power for a limited time in order to deal with an emergency (in this case, the need to unite Italy) and with the task done Garibaldi handed over power to the government of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Victor Emanuel II was king of Sardinia from 1849 and, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878...

.

Garibaldi's case was, however, an exception. In general, the term "dictator" came to be a negative term, not a title used by rulers to call themselves but a term used by the foes of an oppressive ruler. Such was the case with Maximillien Robespierre, whose supporters knew him as "The Incorruptible", while his opponents called him "dictateur sanguinaire", French for "bloodthirsty dictator".

Modern era


In popular usage in western nations, "dictatorship" is often associated with brutality and oppression. As a result, it is often also used as a term of abuse for political opponents, for example, Henry Clay's
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 dominance in United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

—first as Speaker of the House
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 and later as a member of the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

—led to his nickname, "the Dictator." The term has also come to be associated with megalomania
Megalomania
Megalomania is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. 'Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs'...

. Many dictators create a cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

 and have come to favor increasingly grandiloquent titles and honours for themselves. For instance, Idi Amin Dada
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

, who had been a British army lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 prior to Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

's independence from Britain in October 1962, subsequently styled himself as "His Excellency
Excellency
Excellency is an honorific style given to certain members of an organization or state.Usually, people styled "Excellency" are heads of state, heads of government, governors, ambassadors, certain ecclesiastics, royalty, aristocracy, and military, and others holding equivalent rank .It is...

, President for Life
President for Life
President for Life is a title assumed by some dictators to remove their term limit, in the hope that their authority, legitimacy, and term will never be disputed....

, Field Marshal
Field Marshal (Uganda)
The rank of Field Marshal is a high rank in the military of Uganda. President Idi Amin was the commander-in-chief of the army, awarding himself the rank of field marshal. The highest ranking individual in the modern Ugandan army, the Uganda People's Defence Force , is the current President Yoweri...

 Al Hadji
Hajji
Hajji or El-Hajj, is an honorific title given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca, and is often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel. The title is placed before a person's name...

 Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

, MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

, Conqueror of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular
". In the movie "The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator is a comedy film by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was...

" (1940), Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 satirized not only Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 but the institution of dictatorship itself.

The association between the dictator and the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 is a common one; many dictators take great pains to emphasize their connections with the military and often wear military uniforms. In some cases, this is perfectly legitimate; Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 was a lieutenant general in the Spanish Army before he became Chief of State
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 of Spain; Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

 was officially commander of the Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

nian Defense Forces. In other cases, the association is mere pretense.

Modern use in formal titles


Because of the negative associations, modern leaders very rarely (if ever) use the term in their formal titles. In the 19th century, however, official use was more common.

Dictator (plain)

  • Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    • In the former doge-state Venice
      Republic of Venice
      The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

      , and while it was a republic resisting annexation by either the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia
      Piedmont-Sardinia
      Kingdom of Sardinia or Sardinia, also Piedmont-Sardinia, Sardinia-Piedmont or Piemonte, refers to the states of the House of Savoy from 1720 or 1723 onwards, following the award of the crown of Sardinia to King Victor Amadeus II of Savoy under the Treaty of The Hague...

       or the Austrian empire, a former Chief Executive (president, 23 March 1848 5 July 1848), Daniele Manin
      Daniele Manin
      Daniele Manin was an Italian patriot and statesman from Venice. He is a hero of Italian unification .-Early life:...

       (b. 1804 - d. 1857), was styled Dictator 11–13 August 1848 before joining the 13 August 1848 - 7 March 1849 Triumvirate.

  • Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

    • Emilio Aguinaldo
      Emilio Aguinaldo
      Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy was a Filipino general, politician, and independence leader. He played an instrumental role during the Philippines' revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine-American War or War of Philippine Independence that resisted American occupation...

      , the last President of the Supreme Government Council 23 March 1897 - 16 December 1897 and chairman of the Revolutionary Government from 23 June to 1 November 1897, was dictator from 12 June 1898 - 23 January.
  • Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    • Józef Chlopicki
      Józef Chlopicki
      Józef Chłopicki was a Polish general who was involved in fighting in Europe at the time of Napoleon and later.He was born in Kapustynie in Volhynia and was educated at the school of the Basilians at Szarogrod, from which in 1785 he ran away in order to enlist as a volunteer in the Polish army....

       was styled Dictator from 5 December 1830 - December 1830 and again in December 1830 - 25 January 1831
    • Jan Tyssowski was Dictator from 24 February 1846 - 2 March 1846.
    • Ludwik Mierosławski was Dictator from 22 January 1863 - 10 March 1863
    • Marian Langiewicz
      Marian Langiewicz
      Marian Langiewicz, full name Marian Antoni Melchior Langiewicz , was a Polish patriot notable as a military leader of the January Uprising in 1863.-Biography:He was born in the province of Posen, his father being the local doctor...

       was Dictator from 10 March 1863 - 19 March 1863
    • An Executive Dictatorial Commission of three members existed from 19 March 1863 - 20 March 1863
    • Romuald Traugutt
      Romuald Traugutt
      Romuald Traugutt was a Polish general and war hero, best known for commanding the January Uprising. From October 1863 to August 1864 he was Dictator of Insurrection. He headed the Polish national government from October 17, 1863 to April 20, 1864, and was president of its Foreign Affairs...

       was Dictator from 17 October 1863 - 10 April 1864
  • Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

     during the Civil War
    • Nazarov was Dictator of the Don Republic
      Don Republic
      The Don Republic and later the Vsevelikoe Voisko Donskoe was an anti-Bolshevik state formed during the Russian Civil War after the collapse of the Russian Empire, and the name of two organizations formed in the 1990s....

       (which before, since its founding on 2 December 1917 at Novocherkassk, had been governed by a Triumvirate
      Triumvirate
      A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals, each a triumvir . The arrangement can be formal or informal, and though the three are usually equal on paper, in reality this is rarely the case...

       including the last pre-Soviet Ataman
      Ataman
      Ataman was a commander title of the Ukrainian People's Army, Cossack, and haidamak leaders, who were in essence the Cossacks...

      , Aleksei Maksimovich Kaledin) from 11 February 1918 till 25 February 1918 when Bolshevik
      Bolshevik
      The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

       troops ended their existence
    • Prince N. Tarkovsky was Dictator of the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
      Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
      The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was a short-lived state situated in the Northern Caucasus...

      ,

Benevolent dictators



The benevolent dictator is a more modern version of the classical “enlightened
Enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories...

 despot
Despotism
Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy...

”, being an absolute ruler who exercises his or her political power for the benefit of the people rather than exclusively for his or her own benefit. Like many political classifications, this term suffers from its inherent subjectivity. Such leaders as Napoleon Bonaparte, Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

, Alfredo Stroessner
Alfredo Stroessner
Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda, whose name is also spelled Strössner or Strößner , was a Paraguayan military officer and dictator from 1954 to 1989...

, Kenneth Kaunda, Józef Piłsudski, Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy
Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya was the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary during the interwar years and throughout most of World War II, serving from 1 March 1920 to 15 October 1944. Horthy was styled "His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary" .Admiral Horthy was an officer of the...

, Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

, Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

, Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee was a Republic of Korea Army general and the leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. He seized power in a military coup and ruled until his assassination in 1979. He has been credited with the industrialization of the Republic of Korea through export-led growth...

, Sukarno
Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

, and Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 have been characterized by their supporters as benevolent dictators.
In Spanish, the word dictablanda
Dictablanda
"Dictablanda" is a word used by political scientists to describe a dictatorship in which civil liberties are allegedly preserved rather than destroyed. The word dictablanda is a portmanteau of the Spanish words dictadura and blanda...

is sometimes used for a dictatorship conserving some of the liberties and mechanisms of democracy. (The pun is that, in Spanish, dictadura is “dictatorship”, dura is “hard” and blanda is “soft”). Some examples include Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 under Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 or Spain under Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. This contrasts with democradura (literally “hard democracy”), characterized by full formal democracy alongside limitations on constitutional freedoms and human rights abuses, frequently within the context of a civil conflict or the existence of an insurgency. Governments in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 have at various times been considered such régimes by different critics and opposition groups, not necessarily with an academic or political consensus about the application of the term emerging.

Dictators in game theory


In social choice theory
Social choice theory
Social choice theory is a theoretical framework for measuring individual interests, values, or welfares as an aggregate towards collective decision. A non-theoretical example of a collective decision is passing a set of laws under a constitution. Social choice theory dates from Condorcet's...

, the notion of a dictator is formally defined as a person who can achieve any feasible social outcome he/she wishes. The formal definition yields an interesting distinction between two different types of dictators.
  • The strong dictator has, for any social goal he/she has in mind (e.g. raise taxes, having someone killed, etc.), a definite way of achieving that goal. This can be seen as having explicit absolute power, like Sulla.
  • The weak dictator has, for any social goal he/she has in mind, and for any political scenario, a course of action that would bring about the desired goal. For the weak dictator, it is usually not enough to "give their orders", rather he/she has to manipulate the political scene appropriately. This means that the weak dictator might actually be lurking in the shadows, working within a political setup that seems to be non-dictatorial. An example of such a figure is Lorenzo the Magnificent
    Lorenzo de' Medici
    Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists and poets...

    , who controlled Renaissance Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

    .

Note that these definitions disregard some alleged dictators, e.g. Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, who are not interested in the actual achieving of social goals, as much as in propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 and controlling public opinion. Monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

s and military dictators
Military dictatorship
A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

 are also excluded from these definitions, because their rule relies on the consent of other political powers (the barons or the army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

).

See also


  • Dictatorship
    Dictatorship
    A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

  • Dictatorship of the proletariat
    Dictatorship of the proletariat
    In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

  • Dictator novel
    Dictator novel
    The dictator novel is a genre of Latin American literature that challenges the role of the dictator in Latin American society. The theme of caudillismo—the régime of a charismatic caudillo, a political strongman—is addressed by examining the relationships between power, dictatorship,...

  • Governor-General
    Governor-General
    A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

  • Heads of state timeline
  • List of political leaders who suspended the constitution
  • List of political leaders who held active military ranks in office
  • List of successful coups d'état
  • Military dictatorship
    Military dictatorship
    A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

  • Military rule (disambiguation)
  • President for life
    President for Life
    President for Life is a title assumed by some dictators to remove their term limit, in the hope that their authority, legitimacy, and term will never be disputed....

  • Roman dictator
    Roman dictator
    In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

  • Rule by decree
    Rule by decree
    Rule by decree is a style of governance allowing quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group, and is used primarily by dictators and absolute monarchs, although philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben have argued that it has been generalized since World War I in all modern states,...

  • Single party state
  • Supreme Leader (disambiguation)
    Supreme Leader (disambiguation)
    Supreme Leader can refer to:*Supreme Leader of Iran, the highest-ranking political and religious authority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran*Supreme Leader, Italy , Benito Mussolini's position of power...


External links